The Coronavirus pandemic has caused heartbreak and difficulty for so many across the world. It’s pulled families apart, strained relationships and taken a toll on every single person.
With lockdowns being enforced around the globe, we will struggle to find someone who has been untouched by the biggest thing to sweep the world in many years. But like all storms, this shall too pass – however its effects will be lasting.
Mental health has been greatly affected by Covid-19 – it has brought loneliness, isolation and fear to homes and these are just some things that have mentally and physically affected people.
We’re going to take a look at how lockdown has affected our mental health and what can be done to help make improvements.
One of the biggest challenges lockdown brought with it was loneliness. Whether you just like going out on the weekend once in a while or you’re a social butterfly, loneliness was a horrible disease which descended once lockdown was enforced.
According to research, one in four adults felt lonely due to Covid-19. Luckily, this is a temporary situation. As lockdowns start to lift and some normality is regained, isolation will begin to fade and families and friends will be reunited.
With loneliness comes isolation. Mind carried out some research which found 79% of people said not being able to see people was a main driver to poor mental health. According to these findings, people also worried about becoming more reclusive and isolated after enjoying isolation, and how they could face more challenges once it’s over.
Fear and anxiety
Coronavirus has caused mass panic. It’s a new disease, unlike anything we have encountered in our lifetimes, so the fear and anxiety which it has caused many is justified. It has affected both children and adults, with many people choosing to isolate long before it was enforced by the government out of fear of catching or spreading the disease.
This has caused even more people to feel excluded and isolated because even though the strict lockdown measures have lifted somewhat, those who have a fear of catching it are still isolated and almost trapped due to the mental effect it’s having on them.
Money worries have been negatively affecting our mental health long before a global pandemic swept the world. However, with businesses facing their own financial issues and jobs being lost, money worries are a growing concern and adding more strain to an already-established issue.
Losing your job can bring with it more problems than just financial, but one of the top tips from the NHS is to not drink too much alcohol. While it is perceived by some to alleviate stress, it can make matters worse. Alcohol will not address the problems and it’s always best to tackle issues with a clear mind and a positive attitude.
All of these problems can cause sleep issues on their own, let alone when lockdown and a pandemic are brought into play, too. Insomnia has been a common complaint and for those who have managed to get some shut-eye, there have been reports of strange, vivid dreams.
While our lives are not quite back to normal yet, you should try and get into an evening routine:
● Set a bedtime (an adult should get around seven to nine hours worth of sleep a night)
● Limit technology in the evening (screen time should be cut off one hour before you go to bed)
● Find a way to destress before bed (this could be listening to music or a podcast, having a bath, reading a book or putting on a moisturising face mask).
With all of these issues – loneliness, isolation and financial worries – many people up and down the country were looking for ways to solve them. Lockdown was described as “every day is a Friday” – especially for those on furlough or without jobs.
The British Liver Trust revealed that its helpline saw an increase in calls of 500% since the start of lockdown. Showing a link between lockdown and alcohol consumption.
If you are unsure whether you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, Cuddington, Northwich-based rehab clinic Delamere has explained the signs of alcohol addiction:
● Choosing to associate with other drinkers, rather than family and friends
● Putting off responsibilities to drink
● Frequently drinking alone
● Increased isolation from loved ones
● Other areas of your life start to suffer, such as physical health, mental health, social life, relationships and finances
● You spend more time drinking and recovering from it than you do sober.
Below, we explain how you can get help for any of the issues you’ve faced during lockdown.
Coming out of lockdown
As we start to come out of lockdown, we need to look at the short- and long-term effects lockdown has had on our mental health.
● For sleep issues, we can start to develop a routine as suggested above.
● For financial worries, make a plan. If you’re still in employment and worrying about the future, contact your manager and HR and ask for reassurance about your position so you can plan your next steps. If you have lost your job during the pandemic, you should update your CV and upload it to recruitment sites – people are still hiring.
● Isolation will soon resolve itself when we can expand our groups and reconnect.
Those are short-term effects, now let’s look at the long-term effect: Substance abuse.
If you have frequently turned to alcohol consumption during the lockdown, this will not simply go away once the pandemic is over. Developing an addiction is a permanent thing and will require professional care to help you remove the substance from your life.
If you have been struggling with the impact the pandemic (including lockdown) has had on your life, there is plenty of help available – you are not alone. If you require urgent mental health care you can find your local helpline through the NHS.